I guess time flies, because I’ve kind of wanted to see GEOSTORM since it came out, and I didn’t realize that was more than five years ago. It’s the theatrical feature directing debut of Dean Devlin, former writing/producing partner of Roland Emmerich. Devlin wrote the script with Paul Guyot (two season 2 episodes of something called “Felicity”; also Chow Yun Fat’s assistant on THE REPLACEMENT KILLERS).
In my household Mrs. Vern is the fan of disaster movies. The best ones make her giggle. She loves the broad stereotypes, the corny speeches, the cataclysmic destruction, and especially the montages where different countries set aside their differences to save the world together. Unlike me she likes INDEPENDENCE DAY, but she’s not one of the people who considers it to be an actual well made blockbuster movie. She just finds it a little more hilarious and alot less annoying than I do. So she’s the reason we saw and got a kick out of 10,000 B.C. and 2012 in the theater and MOONFALL on video. I skipped THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW and she still gets excited and explains to me what’s happening when we come across it on cable. So although I would like to take credit for reviewing this as part of some post-PLANE Gerard Butler study, it’s really because she spontaneously decided the time had come to watch it, and I agreed it was a good idea.
Butler plays Jake Lawson, the chief architect of a web of climate-controlling satellites built through international cooperation in the futuristic year of 2019. Nicknamed Dutch Boy (a term I really got sick of hearing), the system successfully neutralizes climate-change-exacerbated weather events. (read the rest of this shit…)
GEMINI MAN is your traditional “the greatest assassin anybody ever saw decides to retire and then god damn it I thought they loved me but they’re sending a guy to kill me what the fuck” type scenario. The gimmick is that the guy they send after him is a younger version of himself created through the miracle of cloning. He figures this out a good third or more into the movie, but we know from frame one because of the studio’s decision to advertise the film.
Will Smith (“Nightmare On My Street”) plays both extreme retiree Henry Brogan and the facial expressions of the very advanced digital animation character playing his clone. Junior, as he’s called, gets dispatched after Henry’s Old Buddy From the Marines Jack (Douglas Hodge, THE DESCENT PART 2) and Russian operative Yuri (Ilia Volok, AIR FORCE ONE) tell him that that last guy they had him kill, the terrorist, was actually an innocent scientist being eliminated as part of a cover-up. When Henry hears this information he looks up to the clouds just as the lite on a satellite blinks, but it’s only to tell us someone heard this. He doesn’t seem to figure it out himself.
He does catch on that the new manager at the docks where he keeps his boat is really a D.I.A. agent sent to keep tabs on him. He asks Dani (Mary Elizabeth Lucy McClane Winstead, BOBBY) on a date, maybe just to get her to admit she’s spying on him and convince her he’s not a threat. But when some dudes try to kill both of them they end up on the run together. They head to Colombia to meet up with his Old Agency Friend turned small plane pilot Baron (Benedict Wong, LARGO WINCH). (read the rest of this shit…)
“There was some criticism that I made NASA look dumb in certain places. In fact if you heard some of these asteroid theories of what they are thinking of doing, it just sounds asinine.” –Michael Bay
ARMAGEDDON is Michael Bay’s third movie, but in some sense it’s the one where he revealed his true face to the world. There were plenty of examples of his style and character in BAD BOYS and THE ROCK, but it was ARMAGEDDON that first presented the full breadth of his trademarks: awesome awesome macho bros, pretty pretty sunsets, government employees portrayed as insufferable weiners even though they’re in the right, spinning cameras, haphazard editing all over the fucking place, chaotic mish-mashes of explosions and sparks and machinery and debris and smoke and crap, beautiful shots of people in various locations around the world, weirdly hateful characters presented as cutesy comic relief, an army of highly qualified writers seemingly locked in a cage and forced to duct tape a bunch of dumb ideas into the most unwieldy structure they can come up with that has a running time at least 30 minutes longer than the story has earned, and of course an ensemble of talented actors improvising jokes with no regard for any sort of desired rhythm or tone of storytelling. (read the rest of this shit…)
When BATMAN & ROBIN was flung onto 2,934 screens in the summer of ’97, the legend of Joel Schumacher, dependable Hollywood journeyman, blew up like a glitter bomb. The director’s next Batman movie was was cancelled because the studio wanted to go in a different direction – the direction of as-far-away-from-Joel-Schumacher-as-possible. Apparently recognizing his diminished status in the blockbuster arena, Schumacher reinvented himself as an oddball, directing the fucked up 8MM (1999) with Nic Cage, FLAWLESS (1999) with Robert De Niro and Philip Seymour Hoffman (which he also wrote), and TIGERLAND (2000), an acclaimed $10 million Vietnam film that’s Colin Farrell’s American debut. The first one was mostly reviled, but the other two caused some critics to offer cautious respect.
So why not dip his toe in again with an action-comedy star vehicle interracial buddy movie type thing? One that would team him with producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who has also made some shameful movies, but seemed to always get away with it? (read the rest of this shit…)
The extreme teaching movie DANGEROUS MINDS is exactly as corny as I remembered it, but not entirely without merit. It’s directed by John M. Smith (THE BOYS OF ST. VINCENT) and written by Ronald Bass (RAIN MAN, THE JOY LUCK CLUB, HOW STELLA GOT HER GROOVE BACK), but it seems like maybe a more significant detail is that it’s produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer (their next-to-last credit together). As with most of their movies it looks real pretty, starting with an opening montage in grainy, high contrast black and white like a French New wave film. Look at these stills, they’re beautiful in my opinion:
Too bad they didn’t shoot the whole movie that way, that would’ve made it pretty different from STAND AND DELIVER and LEAN ON ME and shit. I bet it would’ve made about 1/28th as much money and been way better reviewed.
Fuck it. I loved THE LONE RANGER. I’m not gonna downplay it. It doesn’t surprise me it’s not a runaway hit, ’cause it’s a cowboy from a fuckin radio play, for chrissakes. Every several years they sink a bunch of money into a movie based on an old timey adventure hero like The Phantom, The Shadow, The Green Hornet, John Carter, or this guy, and maybe with the exception of Zorro they’ve all failed to make money or capture the public consciousness. But I tend to like these kinds of movies, so thank you, corporations, for losing so much scratch on my behalf, especially this time. Here we have the most artful and original of any of those mentioned. I wouldn’t expect everybody to want to see it, but I honestly can’t comprehend the hatred for it by people who have.
It’s made by Team Pirates of the Caribbean: director Gore Verbinski, star Johnny Depp, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, studio Walt Disney, writers Terry Rossio & Ted Elliot (this time with Justin Haythe, who wrote SNITCH), composer Hans Zimmer. And I personally really like their three Pirates movies, so keep that in mind, but this is much more concise and focused. I’m not gonna say it’s better than PIRATES 2, with all those crazy creatures and shit, but it’s faster moving and better structured. (read the rest of this shit…)
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